The Ngātiwai Trust Board has asked the Mōkau Marae to work with Helena Bay Lodge who sought a consent to take up to 60,000 litres of water a day from a local stream which passes through the property, to irrigate the Lodge grounds.
The consent application put forward by Helena Bay Lodge was withdrawn in early July so that more studies and monitoring can be done by Mōkau Marae. Both parties agree the health of the river is paramount.
Ngātiwai Trust Board Chairman Haydn Edmonds says “This is why we are working with our local marae, that are potentially most affected, the Regional Council and the Helena Bay Lodge to find a satisfactory outcome.”
“The mana for this sort of decision making clearly sits with Mōkau Marae and the hapū of Te Uri O Hikihiki of Ngātiwai. They have the mana whenua over this area so whatever they decide, we as the Trust Board will come in behind them and support their position.”
Mr. Edmonds said, “I know there has been a lot of media attention on this issue aimed at Russian lodge owner, Alexander Abramov.”
“The media has been ill informed and unfair in there reporting of this issue. Mr. Abramov is not involved in the management and maintenance of his tourist Lodge. The media hasn’t bothered to check whether the consent was withdrawn by Lodge management before publishing their ‘beat up’ articles and news streams.”
“The initial request made by Helena Bay Lodge to take water from a local river is not on the same scale as some of the water take requests around the area. This water was not going to be taken to be bottled up and sold off shore."
“60,000 litres a day is a lot of water, however critics need to be consistent as there are locals in the area taking 10 times more water from local rivers for their farming needs.”
“What we have tried to balance here is a businessman that has come into the area and made positive economic benefits available for our local people in terms of jobs, and is someone who is committed to contributing to the local community and whenua in a positive way. Some on Social Media have asked who are getting the "kickbacks" from this businessman. Well let me say the only kickbacks are to the local community and the economic benefits of jobs being created that were once never there.”
“Once the water monitoring project is completed, Helena Bay Lodge may well come forward through the process again requesting to take water, at which time we will work with all parties involved to work towards a satisfactory outcome.”